We Are Limitless

I grew up around alchoholics, gamblers, cheaters, and liars. People who sold their souls and materials to serve their vanity, egos, narcissism, and greed were always around my house, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, sobering up and trying to move on with their lives. In all my different work with young people, I have beenContinue reading “We Are Limitless”

My Youth Council Days

In fall of 1992, I was a 17-year-old struggling through high school, living in the hood, and loving the life I lived. It was an exciting time packed with nerve-wracking moments that were smoothed over by a caring family, good mentors, and great friends. I grew up in a predominantly low income, African American neighborhoodContinue reading “My Youth Council Days”

Change the World through Wikipedia

It’s a quiet night in the middle of winter when you surf Wikipedia over to your favorite subject. Lately you’ve been obsessed. Reading the regular “blah, blah, blah” you’d expect in an encyclopedia, suddenly your eyes come across something you know is wrong, and you want to fix it. Stumbling through the clunky interface ofContinue reading “Change the World through Wikipedia”

Questions About Youth Empowerment

Today I read a great article by a thought leader in New Hampshire’s democratic education community, Peter Berg. Peter does some cool work including coaching for young people themselves, and I really like his blog. Cool guy. His article, “Empowering Youth to Take Charge of Their Health“, got my brain running this afternoon, as hisContinue reading “Questions About Youth Empowerment”

A Disimagination Machine

People who remember court madness through pain, the pain of the perpetually recurring death of their innocence; people who forget court another kind of madness, the madness of the denial of pain and the hatred of innocence. – James Baldwin When I was 23, I started writing about my career. Studying at The Evergreen StateContinue reading “A Disimagination Machine”

Does Every Youth Ask “Why Is The World So Mean?”

Sitting in a circle after our activity, an eighth grader asks me bluntly, “Why is the world so mean?” After a game, I was facilitating a conversation with a group. I’d asked the students to brainstorm different problems they saw around them, and name some of the ways they were affected by them. Someone saidContinue reading “Does Every Youth Ask “Why Is The World So Mean?””

When Student Voice Projects Fail

You’re reading this because you’re curious about what’s next. Its the end of a school year, and you think your student voice project has failed. Let me reassure you, you’re not alone. I have led and consulted on hundreds of student voice projects over more than a decade doing this work, and I have failedContinue reading “When Student Voice Projects Fail”

Loosening the Evaluation Stranglehold

Every day, young people around the world—including Pittsburgh and all of Allegheny County—struggle to connect in meaningful ways to the world around them. They’re yanked on and dragged around by the adults in the lives, being sent to school, dropped off in after school programs, made to come to dinner, forced to kiss their greatContinue reading “Loosening the Evaluation Stranglehold”

10 Steps to Planning Programs With Youth

Planning youth programs for children and youth is tricky. Stuck without enough time to plan or strict guidelines for curriculum delivery, youth program workers can feel powerless over what they do with the young people they serve. In my own experience working in the field for more than a decade, I had this experience continually.Continue reading “10 Steps to Planning Programs With Youth”